(Il)Logical Progression

Random Musings by the Truly Random

Desperately Seeking… Something

Time seems to fly sometimes, and not just when you’re having fun.  It’s been about a week since I wrote anything here, and I think it’s because I’m not sure what I feel like writing about.  The Velvet Cafe has seen some of my writing – Jessica, per her usual talent, has managed to put up a few topics that got me to respond.  Theatre on film, Miyazaki, and scriptwriters forgetting about little things – she got some words out of me in her comments section – quite a few, in fact.  But I still can’t seem to figure out what to put up here, sometimes.

It’s really easier to respond to someone else’s topic, rather than come up with your own.  It’s part of the reason I started this blog – I wanted to say what I felt needed to be said, but at the same time, I didn’t want to usurp peoples’ articles from them on their pages.  (Fortunately, Jessica’s very forgiving about my ‘walls-of-text’ comments on her site, even when they’re longer than what she wrote herself.)  But, not reading as many blogs as I used to on a regular basis, I feel like I don’t have as much to talk about these days.

So, in response, I went to creative writing, but even that’s kinda blocked up right now.  The two stories here were experiments – one to see what I could come up with as a short story at all (“The First Soul”), and one to see what I could do with a varied perspective (“Courier Duty”).  Both were successful, I believe, though, I’m now not sure where to take the stories – I’m trying to develop the world, without actually getting into the main story that I have been imagining for the years that this world’s existed in my mind.

I’m a bit blocked, I think.  I’m seeking out… something.  A muse.

Something I’m watching?  Already wrote about Glee and haven’t watched much else.  Though I can’t seem to get “Defying Gravity” out of my head.

Something I’m reading?  Still trying to finish Eldest and The Way of Kings but it’s a tad slow at the moment.

Something I’m doing?  I’ve been playing a lot of Star Wars:  The Old Republic and having fun, but I don’t have too much to write about that yet that I didn’t already mention before.  I am 43 on my Mercenary (Taoren) now, though, and healing instead of DPS.  Fighting with the urge to move to a hybrid spec, to DPS better while still maintaining healing, but I don’t think I’m good enough at healing yet to be ready to add DPS back into the mix.

Sports?  My Sacramento Kings are doing terrible this year, and it seems like the majority of their problems stem from lackluster 3rd quarters.  I don’t put any stock into the score (unless they’re way down already) before the end of the 3rd, since they seem to blow leads regularly at that time.

I guess it’s just a little “blah” right now – I’m hoping that just putting this up will get something going soon.

Any ideas?

My 2 yen,



February 22, 2012 Posted by | Creative Writing, General Musings | | Leave a comment

Was High School Really That Exciting?

I’m not sure whether to curse or praise my friend who first got me to watch Glee on NetFlix, but it’s too late for regrets.  I’m not a full-on Gleek, but I am hooked on the show now (I’ve only seen about half of the first season, so far), and was charmed since the first episode.  It’s at the point that I have to make sure to check the time before I start it playing, because if I don’t, I end up watching two or three episodes in a row and the time just flies by – I have to make sure not to use it as one of my late night distractions, lest I lose too much sleep.

I ought to know better, by now, though – her recommendations have been pretty good to date – it’s because of her that I know about Merlin, Shinedown, and Rascal Flatts.

What it is about Glee that hooked me, I’m not certain, but I think it has to do with music, and its effect on the human condition.  I’m a pretty big fan of any music that’s singable, and this show is all about singable music.  Further, I have a soft spot for Les Miserables, and when Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) sang “On My Own”, Eponine’s haunting solo, I knew this was a show that I could get behind.  She has a fantastic voice, and her rendition reminded me of the performance of another Lea, Lea Salonga, whose performance of the same song for the 10th Anniversary concert for Les Mis is probably my favorite performance of the song.

Further, while I wasn’t anything near athletic in high school, I found myself relating to the insecurity that the other lead character, Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), went through during his joining of the New Directions in the pilot.  I’m definitely an amateur karaoke/shower/car singer, and it’s one of those things that I really enjoy doing.  I know I don’t sing particularly well, but I enjoy it nonetheless – and that’s saying something for me, being the harsh critic I am about myself.  Finn’s insecurity about his singing, his reluctance to join the glee club at the beginning, and his view about the general ‘geekiness’ of the kids that were a part of the club were all things that I saw when I looked at the choir in my own high school.  I knew a couple people in it, hung out a bit in the mornings with them when they were just fooling around – Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was a particular favorite (I enjoyed trying to do the low backup part) – and I enjoyed it a lot, but I just couldn’t get myself to join it.  I’m not a great performer, and I couldn’t see myself up onstage in costume, singing in front of an audience.  I guess it’s ironic that I spent a great deal of time in high school in my USMC Dress Blue uniform (costume?) doing close order drill routines (performing?) in parades (in front of an audience?).  Yeah, maybe I don’t know my own abilities and shortcomings as well as I think I do.

Cliques, fights, drama, and just high school everyday pressures – yeah, I saw it when I went through it, too.  I had the ‘honors nerd’ crowd in most of my classes, and the ‘Junior Jarheads’ for ROTC.  I shot .22 rifles for my sport activity – how many kids can say they got to use firearms at school legitimately?  My class trips were spent on military bases – in mess halls, on firing ranges, and in barracks.  And those were great memories, some of the best of all times.  As my Marine Instructor, SgtMaj McClymonds used to say when we were back on his familiar stomping grounds at MCRD San Diego, “You ain’t had it so good!”

I remember being very self conscious of what I did in the public eye in high school, which was pretty funny in retrospect, given that I wasn’t really part of any ‘in’ crowd.  I was one of ‘those guys’ into Dungeons and Dragons, one of the first-generation American anime fans, and I came to school at least once a week in Camouflage utilities (Wednesdays were inspection days).  I had a good number of friends that were girls, but didn’t have a girlfriend, and had a better record of setting my friends up in relationships, than setting myself up.

And while there’s a lot different about my own high school memories, I find myself relating to some of the things that pop up in this show.  I find that I connect to ideas easier in song, and that because so much of this show is musical in nature, I am touched by the themes far more often than I am with other shows that I watch.

They sing and perform, and I smile.  I sing along (to myself, of course) with the songs I know.  The plots and their resolutions, while often not surprising, do make me grin and frown, make me happy and sad to watch.  When the club triumphs, I feel it, and remember back to parades in high school where my drill team won awards.  When the characters find their attractions unrequited, I remember that one ‘that got away’ from my Junior year, and wonder what ‘could have been’ and how she did once she moved back to Canada.  I watch them perform and wish that karaoke had been around when I was that age, and that I had taken that extra step to join the choir.

I don’t think that high school was as exciting as this show makes it out to be, but in remembering it, it was a pretty fun place to be, despite all the work there was in being a student.  I know I miss being a student – high school or college, really – where classes were the main priority of any day, and that homework and tests were the activities of the day, and where I didn’t know what it was all about.  The “real world” is a pretty sobering place, even with the availability of alcohol, especially in this poor job market.

It’s certainly not all bad – I used to think in high school that I wouldn’t be caught dead living in Los Angeles, and now I can’t imagine myself going back to Sacramento.  I’ve met great people, and my work experiences have been generally ok, even despite all the idiots.  Yes, as I’ve written before, I relate now with Office Space, and I understand and enjoy Dilbert.  I’ve done things that I never thought I’d do, because it was generally unavailable in Sacramento,  like surfing or game testing (as a job).

But I do wonder about some of those things that I didn’t do when I’d had the chance.  I think that’s what I like about this show – it’s all about the characters doing what they want to despite their own fears of doing so.  It’s about the relationships that form in the ‘outcasts’ simply because they have that in common.  And it’s about people singing fun stuff and enjoying it, and that’s something that I wish I did more.

I do feel, though, that if Glee or Rock Band had existed when I was in high school, I don’t know how different I’d be now.  There’s something about saying ‘Fuck it’ and doing what you want to do, despite whatever anyone else thinks and just laughing about it after, that’s refreshing.  Exciting.  Energizing.

It restores passion.  It makes me positive again.  It makes me smile.

And I think we all need a little more of that in this world, especially in today’s world.

It’s time for New Directions.   It’s a good time for Glee.

Don’t Stop Believin’!

My 2 yen,


February 14, 2012 Posted by | General Musings | , , , | 2 Comments

All Hail the New York Giants… (New York Giants!)

Another year of NFL football has come and gone, and I’ve got a pretty big smile on my face.  Things didn’t go exactly as planned; if they had, the San Francisco 49ers, who played a fantastic regular season this year, would have emerged victorious with their first title since the whole owner-scandal incident back in 1997.  Despite having a relatively error-free season of football, they made a couple of key errors in the conference championship game against the NY Giants, one of which led to excellent field position in Overtime.  Given that the other teams I watch for – the Oakland Raiders, who despite the loss of Al Davis (which while sad may prove to be what the organization needs to rebuild properly) didn’t rally and make something of their season; the San Diego Chargers, who, as is their norm, played a great first half of the season and then lost whatever momentum/energy/whatever in the second half of the season, to miss out on the playoffs again; and the Indianapolis Colts, who we don’t even need to talk about, and who need to figure out how to run their team at all without Peyton Manning.  Given that the NBA teams I watch are the Sacramento Kings, the Phoenix Suns, and the LA Clippers, I wouldn’t put too much stock in my sports advice, even though the Clips aren’t half bad this year.  Same goes for hockey – my San Jose Sharks, who seem to be playoff plagued, and despite having been no less than 2nd place in the Pacific Division in the last five seasons, can’t manage to close the deal, losing in embarassing fashion in the Conference Finals 0-4 and 1-4 in the last two years.  I’m really good at picking teams in sports.  But then again, I’m a Sacramento State Hornet – check out our records online sometime, and you’ll understand.

But back to this year in football…  or rather, let’s go back a few years to the first meeting of this years conference champions – the New York Giants and the New England Patriots – back in Februrary, 2008.

The Patriots were the team to beat.  Having had a perfect season of 18-0 to date, they were the favorites to win Superbowl XLII by 12 points.  Their organization had already put in for trademark rights to “19-0” and “19-0 The Perfect Season”.  Tom Brady was unstoppable, having fantastic receivers in Randy Moss (who didn’t do squat on the Raiders), and Wes Welker.  They had set records for the most points scored in a single season (589), the most touchdowns in a single season (75), and the highest point differential in a single season (+315).  They had the best offensive line in the NFL, and that showed in Brady’s stellar performances in their 18 wins that season.  It should have been in the bag.

Then the New York Giants met them in the Super Bowl and turned it all around.  They were a longshot to have made the Super Bowl at all, with all their post-season games as away games.  They had finished the season only 10-6, coming into the playoffs as the wild card, their last game a loss to the Patriots, in a failed bid to rob them of their perfect regular season.  Despite that, they managed to upset the playoff run, all of which were come-from-behind victories, and earned their bid at the Vince Lombardi trophy.

And the game was pure magic – at least if you weren’t a Pats fan.  Brady, considered untouchable up to that point, was sacked five times and fumbled the ball once, and was held to only one TD, despite passing for 30/48 completions.  Eli Manning, Brady’s counterpart on the Giants, managed to throw two TDs.  The second TD was set up by a phenomenal escape of two sack attempts by Manning into a pass to David Tyree, who caught the ball on his helmet, despite coverage, for a 32-yard gain.  Three lead changes in the fourth quarter, and in the end, Eli Manning and the NY Giants emerged with a hard-fought 17-14 win over the NE Patriots, who ended their season at 18-1, with no trophy.

So, it might have been fate that brought the two teams together for a rematch on February 5, 2012.  Super Bowl XLVI.

The Patriots won the toss, but elected to kick.  The Giants punted on the first drive, and dropped the ball at the 6-yd line.  Brady stepped up the very first play, and intentionally grounded the ball on a long pass to nobody, from the endzone, scoring two points for the Giants, and giving the ball back to the Giants, who scored on their drive to make it 9-0.

In the second quarter, however, the Patriots would rally, and score 10, making the Giants’ defense look soft, as Brady’s touchdown drive tied an NFL record 96-yards.  They would enter the locker room with a 10-9 lead, and Giants fans wondering how their defense could allow Brady to make 8 consecutive passes, in that 14 play drive.

In the third, it would look like the Giants still had no answers to Brady and the Pats defensively, as the Pats would put 7 more points on the board, putting the Pats up 17-9.  The Giants made two pushes to the redzone on succeeding drives in the third, but could not convert them to touchdowns, settling for field goals instead.  The score at the end of the third quarter, 17-15, New England.

An early interception in the fourth, by Giants defenseman Chase Blackburn, on the 8-yard line on a long Brady pass attempt, appeared to bring life back into the Giants’ game, but on the next drive, the Giants punted from the 43-yd line.

Two second half misplays by the Giants lead to them having only one timeout remaining when they received the ball on the 12-yd line with 3:46 left on the clock.  The Giants’ fortunes would change on the next play when Mario Manningham made a spectacular sideline catch falling out of bounds for a 38-yd gain, which would also cost the Pats a timeout, as the catch was close enough to be challenged.  Losing the challenge, the Pats were left with only two timeouts which would prove critical in the final plays of the game.

The two minute warning would hold the clock, with the Giants at the Pats’ 18-yd line.  A minute later, the Pats would use their second timeout, with the Giants at a 2nd and Goal situation from the 6-yd line.  It looked like the Giants would use up the clock by stopping short of the endzone at the 1-yd line, kick a very short field goal, and give the Pats the ball back with about 20 seconds left, one timeout and a one point deficit.  New England coach Bill Belichick would see this as the probable scenario and had his defense allow Ahmad Bradshaw to run the ball up the middle, and stop at the 1-yd line.  However, not realizing this strategy – Manning admits to having not told Bradshaw – Bradshaw saw the opening, ran the ball, and by the time he realized Manning was shouting “Don’t score!” to him during the play, momentum  caused him to tumble into the endzone, with 58 seconds on the clock.  The Giants were up 21-17 after a failed 2-point conversion, and the Patriots would start the ball at their 20-yd line on a touchback on the following kickoff.

Two dropped passes, and a 6-yd loss on a sack, which forced the Pats to call their final timeout, Brady would be staring down a 4th and 16 situation, on their own 14-yd line.  Brady rose to the challenge and completed a superb 19-yd pass to Deion Branch for the first down.  He followed it up with an 11-yd pass to Aaron Hernandez, with a spike after, to stop the clock.  The next play would be an incomplete pass, but due to the Giants’ penalty for having 12 men on the field, the Pats would have the ball on their own 49-yd line with 9 seconds left.  The next play would be an incomplete pass, and with 5 seconds left on the clock, the final play of the game would be a Brady hail mary pass to Rob Gronkowski, deflected to the ground in a sea of Giants’ defenders’ hands.

And another year of football comes to an end – except for the Pro Bowl, which doesn’t count.

It was a fun season this year, especially the playoffs.  The games were exciting, and while I could hardly believe it myself, the Super Bowl did manage to eclipse the San Francisco – New Orleans playoff match up that ended with the 49ers making two lead-changing touchdowns in the last three minutes of the game.  While they were defeated by the Giants in the next week, I could not be too disappointed, once I heard that the Patriots were to join them in the Super Bowl.

I’ve never been a Tom Brady fan, which is one reason why I’m not a fan of the Pats.  A lot of his success can be attributed to the fantastic offensive line that the team has, which was demonstrated when Brady was injured in the season opener, and the untested Matt Cassel came in and was able to finish the season 11-5.  However, in this Super Bowl, there were examples of Brady’s true talent, as he was able to make some difficult passes when the defense was able to break through, such as the 19-yd pass on 4th and 16 which kept the Pats alive at the time.  Unlike the previous Super Bowl, the Giants’ defense was not as successful in breaking through to Brady, with only two sacks for 10 lost yards.

The Pats were able to keep pressure on the Giants for much of the game – the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third had me pacing, as the Giants defense came up short, allowing two touchdowns in two successive drives.  However, the Giants were able to recover, and played a solid game down the stretch, preventing any more scoring by the Pats, though there were moments, such as the last drive, where it was nerve wracking to watch.  Both teams played very well, and felt closely matched, which showed in the nail-biter finish that they provided this year.

It will be interesting to see what happens to both teams next year – both teams have proven to be extremely strong teams this year.  History, however, had the Giants’ season following their win (2008 season) with a mediocre finish, washing out to the Carolina Panthers in the first round, while Brady has showed signs of being ‘skittish’ in the playoffs, if his offensive line isn’t able to stop the defense from getting to him.  I hope that these two teams are able to maintain their strengths, as both teams are extremely entertaining to watch, and earned their spots in the Super Bowl this year.

And hopefully, one of my teams can give them a run for their money, one of these years.

But for now…

All Hail the New York Giants!

(New York Giants!)

-The Lemurs, Madagascar

My 2 yen,


February 6, 2012 Posted by | General Musings | , , , , | Leave a comment